Rock n Roll | St. Louis Public Radio

Rock n Roll

Joe Edwards at Chuck Berry at Blueberry Hill.
Courtesy Blueberry Hill

Legendary musician Chuck Berry, the “poet laureate” of rock 'n roll, died Saturday, at his home in St. Charles. He left behind him a changed world of music, culture, friendship and a dedication to the St. Louis region that continued until the very end.

Related: Obituary: Chuck Berry dies. He was the ‘poet laureate’ of rock ‘n’ roll

Frances Johnson, widow of blues legend Johnnie Johnson, holds congressional gold medal awarded for his military service.
Bill Greenblatt | UPI

Fans of blues legend Johnnie Clyde Johnson long have complained that – although a member of the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame – the native St. Louisan’s stellar musical talents were often unfairly overshadowed by others.

As U.S. Sen. Claire McCaskill put it, “He wasn’t quite as ‘showy’ as some of the other musicians he hung out with.”

Keyboardist and singer Ashley Underwood, on the right in red, was only 9 when he saw the Beatles in St. Louis. Pam Strasser, a third-grade teacher, was 14.
Nancy Fowler / St. Louis Public Radio. Ticket stubs provided by Steve Adams and Barbara Ward

In 1966, the civil rights movement was in full swing, protesters marched against the escalating war in Vietnam, and the Beatles were revolutionizing the U.S. music scene.

But for good Catholic girls like Pam Strasser, it was still a time of relative innocence. She and her friends used their babysitting money to buy their tickets when the Beatles came to St. Louis.